Perceiving the political landscape: Ego biases in cognitive political networks
Recent studies have found that individuals tend to see themselves as more central in a network than they really are. This body of work has generally been done among small groups of <30 actors. Additionally, settings have usually been in a well-bounded social context focusing on friendship or work relations. Other related research has found links between activity and influence in a network and accurate knowledge of the network. This paper brings together these areas of research on bias and accuracy in the study of a moderate sized legislative political network involving legislators, agency heads, lobbyists, industry representatives, and agency and legislative staff. In a setting where accuracy in an understanding of the political landscape has important implications, the study finds variation in cognitive network bias is patterned with respect to social knowledge, centrality, and an actor's status in the political network. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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